Richard MatherRichard Mather writes and edits for Israel News Online. He has also written for the Jewish Media Agency, Poetica Magazine, Drash Pit, Voices Israel and Chabad Lubavitch’s Holiday Times Magazine. He lives in Manchester, England.
News that around a dozen Christian organizations in Europe have signed an Israelophobic report calling for the termination of imports from Jewish settlements is further evidence that the European Church has once again succumbed to fascism.
The report is called Trading Away Peace: How Europe Helps Sustain Illegal Israeli Settlements and is a sickening indictment of the way many European Christians view the Jewish state. The report categorically blames the settlements for the obstruction of a two-state solution and calls on European countries and businesses to divest and ban imports from Judea and Samaria.
Some 22 NGOs signed off on the report, around half of which were churches or Christian charities, including Christian Aid, the Quakers, the Methodist Church in Britain, Church of Sweden, Finn Church Aid and Diakonia.
The signatories are the usual suspects. Earlier this year, both Christian Aid and the Quakers met with members of the UK government to discuss the implementation of a total ban of settlement goods, a move that was supported by the Methodist Church. Finn Church Aid has called on Christians not to support Israeli policies “that are a part of the conflict,” which presumably refers to the expansion of settlements in Judea and Samaria.
The Church of Sweden is an advocate of the Kairos document (2009) that says Palestinians have a “natural right” to the land of Israel. The document refers to the first intifada as a “peaceful struggle,” while terrorism is excused on the grounds that Israel is ultimately responsible for Palestinian Arab acts of violence against Jewish civilians.
Possibly the worst fact about the report is that it is has the approval of Diakonia. This organization was founded by five Swedish churches in 1966 and has financed programs to commemorate the Islamofascist hate fest known as the Nakba, and is generally supportive of Palestinian political goals.
Diakonia has also helped fund an organization called Sabeel, which has been roundly criticized for using anti-Semitic propaganda to further its aims. Its founder, a Palestinian Anglican called Naim Ateek, has referred to the settlements as a “crucifixion system” in which Palestinian Arabs are “crucified” on a “daily” basis.
The fact that various Christians bodies are funding or supporting this kind of dangerous anti-Semitic nonsense just shows how easily the Church is swayed by Judeophobia.
Christian leaders could have stopped Hitler’s rise to power or at least moderated his policies towards the Jews, but they didn’t because many were broadly sympathetic toward fascist ideology.
European Christians who grovel at the feet of the fascistic Palestinian movement are no different from the Churches who capitulated in the face of Nazism. Motivated by a latent hostility towards the Jews, today’s Church is reaching out to Palestinian Arabs and the Arab world in order to establish an anti-Israel consensus.
I also suspect that Christian leaders are fully aware that because of immigration and demographic changes, Islam could well be the dominant religion in Europe in fifty years’ time. As such, they are resigning themselves to self-imposed “dhimmitude.” Dhimmitude, according to political commentator Bat Ye’or, is the “submission of the Christian clergy” to “Islamic domination of both their lands and peoples” in return for a pledge of protection or dhimma.
By siding with the Palestinian Arabs against Israel, they are safeguarding their own future.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that many Christians are inciting and aggravating anti-Jewish sentiment by lending their considerable support to a movement that seeks to eliminate Israel.
At a time when Islamofascism is spreading across the Middle East and making inroads in Europe, it is distressing to see liberal Christians turning their backs on a democratic and progressive nation in favor of a dark and oppressive ideology like "Palestinianism".